When Is It Okay to Fire a Wedding Vendor?

Local event planner Shannon Wellington shares how to tactfully navigate some awkward situations.

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Planning a wedding takes coordination, communication, and often, nerves of steel — it’s a lot of logistics and moving parts to keep in order! When you’re in the midst of the planning process, you of course want all of your vendors, from your photographer to your planner to your florist to your DJ or band, to make you feel like they’re working to make your dream day a reality. So, what do you do if that relationship starts to feel like kind of a nightmare — or if it’s just not the right fit for you?

It’s wise to think it through and try to troubleshoot the situation first to see if there’s a fix, but sometimes it’s just best to part ways with a vendor. It is one of the most significant days of your life, after all. (By the way, it’s also wise to be aware of what you can — and can’t — ask your wedding planner to do.) Here, Chadds Ford-based Shannon Wellington, principal planner and designer at Shannon Wellington Weddings & Events, shares her best advice on how to tactfully navigate some awkward situations with your wedding team.

Your photos just aren’t flattering.

An engagement shoot is the perfect time to take stock of a photographer’s shooting style, personality and final editing. If you liked what you saw on IG — which, Wellington notes, might have been shot with models and not real couples — but aren’t loving how it translates IRL, now’s the time to reassess. (Here are some local photographers you should follow on Instagram, if you’re looking for ideas.) Most photographers have a defined style they’ve honed over time, and if it doesn’t make you happy now, you’ll likely regret it even more come your wedding day. Wellington’s had three brides change course in the past year and a half alone.

Your DJ is condescending.

Some vendors who’ve been in the business a long time might be convinced that their way is the only way. (Some more traditional DJs, Wellington says, may try to upsell lighting on the dance floor, or make a fuss about doing a dance set before dinner.) If that’s not your style, your wedding doesn’t have to follow suit. Take back the reins with a polite but direct reminder of your status as the paying client. Wellington suggests: “This is my wedding, and I’ll be the one making the decisions. This is the timeline we’ll be working with.”

RELATED: These Are The Philly Wedding DJs That Always Pack The Dance Floor

Your hair-and-makeup trial goes astray.

The trial is recommended for a reason! If you’re not liking your look, speak up now. Say, “I’m not sure this is what I envisioned,” and then be open with your stylist about why. It’s important to have realistic expectations — “Often, you aren’t going to look exactly like your inspiration photos,” says Wellington — but it’s okay to ask questions and make suggestions. Request a then-and-there retrial. If you still want to put a bag over your head when you leave the studio, cut your losses and get some new recommendations. (If you’re still looking for, here are some talented local bridal hair and makeup pros.)

Your planner is MIA.

Has your invitation deadline passed? Are you rushing to get things done because you didn’t know an item had to be ordered? “If your planner’s not keeping your calendar in order, that’s not okay,” says Wellington, who adds that radio silence can also be a red flag. “A 24-to-48-hour response during business hours is standard and should be met, barring any emergencies or scheduled out-of-office hours,” she adds. (Here are 23 Philly wedding planners to consider if you still need one for your Big Day.) Share your specific concerns early in the relationship. If your planner doesn’t have a satisfactory explanation, change her behavior, or take your worries seriously, things don’t bode well for the rest of your relationship.

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